The owner of the former Lafayette Square Mall on the northwest side has postponed the property’s reopening due to construction delays.
The shopping center, now known as Window to the World, was expected to reopen Nov. 21, ahead of Thanksgiving weekend shopping. But owner Sojos Capital announced Friday that it has delayed those plans and instead would offer tenants temporary space in a yet-to-be-identified vacant anchor store to allow them to resume business.
In a statement, the firm said it was pleased with progress on the development—part of a sweeping, $200 million-plus effort to revamp the International Marketplace neighborhood—but the building would remain closed until work is finished.
“One of the most intense components of the project is the complete renovation and build-out of the food, beverage and entertainment area,” the statement said, in part. “By not remaining open for business, we will be able to further accelerate renovation efforts while guaranteeing the safety of our tenants, employees and visitors.”
In June, Sojos announced plans to shutter the mall for about three months, from Aug. 29 to Nov. 21, to allow crews to complete various upgrades including extensive electrical work and new flooring installation.
About half of the available tenant spaces at the 1.2 million-square-foot mall, located at at 3919 Lafayette Road, were occupied with tenants when it temporarily shut down.
Sojos said Friday it is continuing to meet with each of its tenants to create plans for operating in the interim and offer advisory services, in addition to assisting with moves to the temporary space.
“We are providing business mentorship opportunities and as-needed landlord improvements,” the statement said. “Tenants will also have the opportunity to relocate to a free, temporary space in a former anchor store, open to the general public, to allow them to continue doing business until construction is complete. “
Sojos Capital principal Fabio de la Cruz told IBJ in July that at least $50 million had already been spent on improvements to the mall and other surrounding properties, including repainting much of the 1.2 million-square-foot building’s exterior with bold and vibrant colors and several murals.
As part of the improvements that have temporarily shuttered the property, de la Cruz committed up to six months of free rent for tenants during the closure, ahead of a major shift in rent structure for the property that likely will include a higher base rent as well as a percentage of sales, much like what occurs with many other shopping centers.
A revised opening date for the shopping center has not yet been announced. Sojos officials declined to comment beyond the information in Friday’s announcement.